Micky wrote: ↑Tue Nov 02, 2021 11:16 am
Alright, so that Roger Moore journey took me longer than I had initially anticipated. These movies range from really really good to just outright uncomfortable to watch. Here we go:
Live and Let Die (1973)
The first of the Moore era of Bond is...interesting. First off, I'll talk about Moore as Bond. This is the film where I'd say you can tell he's trying his best to differentiate his version from Connery and, to a lesser extent, Lazenby. He is clearly trying to do his own thing with the role, which I absolutely admire. He brings a sense of humor and charm to the film that I think was lacking the last few Connery entries.
There is, however, a lot of uncomfortable stuff in this film. From the "tricking" a religious tarot card reader into sleeping with him and losing her virginity, all the way to how the film portrays African Americans, there is some real uncomfortable stuff here.
When you put that aside though, I would say objectively it is an okay movie. It's really nothing special in terms of story or anything like that aside from the fact that this is the ONLY Bond film to feature a villain with supernatural powers.
Also, there's this stereotypical hillbilly sheriff from Louisiana who has a bunch of tobacco in his mouth and spits out racist lines like "This definitely ain't the first time you've been pulled over boy" and things like that as well as some really awkward humor.
Moore gives it his all, the action is fun, but it's just okay. The film feels weighed down by how poorly it has aged in terms of social issues, etc.
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Let me say, I was excited for a rewatch of this one because I love Christopher Lee. The dude was freaking Dracula!
A lot of people say this movie is boring, but I actually found it quite entertaining in terms of story. It's about an assassin with a golden gun who is hired to kill Bond (Although, I don't think it's ever clear who hired him. I thought it was this Japanese guy, but when Bond walks up to the Japanese guy pretending to be the assassin, he doesn't recognize him).
The story isn't necessarily thrilling and there's some really awkward humor in the middle of the action scenes, one scene in particular had me rolling my eyes with two girls and a seemingly endless amount of ninjas. There's also, as someone mentioned above me, a really annoying moment where Bond does a corkscrew in the air with a car and a whistle noise accompanies it as opposed to the Bond theme, which really takes away from the awesomeness of the scene.
Moore seems much more comfortable this time around, but I don't really believe him in the action scenes. Probably because in ALL of his movies, it's so noticeable when there's a stunt double on screen.
The final 20 minutes or so of this movie are real fun and were a real highlight for me. There’s also a really good fight scene inside a Gypsie’s dressing room, reminded me of a fight scene that would have taken place in the Craig era of Bond.
There is a little person in this film and I would say his character isn't treated with much respect in his final moments on screen. It's funny, but cruel and I'm unsure if it makes me a total dick or not for laughing at the scene but then immediately feeling bad afterwards.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
This is the Moore film that I remember seeing the most as a kid. Spike TV used to do a marathon of these movies every Christmas called the "007 days of Christmas" where they played nothing but Bond for the whole week. When I was a kid, it was awesome because my parents couldn't afford to buy me the movies in physical form.
This and one of the Brosnan films I remember watching the most so this was one I expected to be quite nostalgic for upon rewatch.
I wasn't disappointed.
Now, this is EASILY the best of the Moore Bond films, but I find it's a little too long and kind of boring in some parts. However, the action is great, the effects are amazing for the time and Jaws is easily one of the best villains in cinema history. Moore is also at his best here, with none of his quips feeling really forced or awkward.
The story is also really good and probably the best of the Moore era. Overall, it’s a really great Bond movie and is probably the only true standout of the Moore era.
So, interestingly enough at the end of The Spy Who Loved me, it says "James Bond will return in...For Your Eyes Only" yet Moonraker is the next film released. "Well Bobby, you just must be stupid!" you're probably thinking. However, because of Star Wars, James Bond HAD to go to space ASAP.
Moonraker is often considered one of the low points in the Bond franchise and the jumping of the shark in Moore's tenure...however I thought this movie was a lot of fun. The opening scene is phenomenally shot and really well done considering this was made in the 70s. The action throughout is really well done and Moore is clearly having fun with this. It also doesn't hurt that Jaws is back to torment Bond...and find love.
While the scenes in space are hokey and have aged really bad for the time, I can forgive it because the movie clearly knows what type of movie it wants to be. If you're looking for a dumb fun time, this is the one for you.
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
I have a funny story about this movie. I put it in my Xbox to play and it started off just fine, but then a bunch of colored squares showed up and it stopped working. There's no scratches or fingerprints anywhere so I was really confused. Turns out the DVD had "corrupted data" and would no longer work. So I had to buy a new copy of it from Amazon.
ANYWAY, this movie was interesting. I did some research and the producers really wanted to bring Bond back to his roots with this one. They wanted it to be more grounded and Moore to be a bit "moore" serious (get it?) They really wanted "For Your Eyes Only" to be the "Goldfinger" of Moore's era.
I think they managed to bring the tone down a bit, but the movie itself just like every two seconds there was some BIG action scene happening and Moore throwing out awkward one liners and they were still inserting his humor into every moment they could. At first they're funny, but when you watch these movies back-to-back like I did (I watched the last 3 in 2 days) the humor really just isn't funny.
However, I will say this is probably more grounded than most of the Bond films during this era, but I think Man with the Golden Gun is the most grounded. I think the story here is fun and the action is great, but it's not exactly what I think they were aiming for. It's a good Bond movie and would've been a satisfactory ending to Moore's tenure...
Let me get straight to the point here: I really really really disliked this movie. Some people say that the next Bond film is the worst of Moore's tenure, but I say it's this.
Moore is really starting to look his age here. There's a scene where he dresses up as a clown and the final scene of him in a body cast is the perfect representation of how the franchise had become a broken down series at this point. Moore seems uninterested, except for the love scenes.
The clown scene is another great representation of how far Bond had fallen. There's also a scene where he is swinging from vines in a tree and they play a Tarzan noise. There's just so much in this movie that is embarrassing to watch as a Bond fan.
I also really want to talk about the opening scene. In Connery's last film, Diamonds are Forever, his arch nemesis Blofeld, who killed Bond's wife (SPOILER ALERT FOR A MOVIE THAT'S OLDER THAN YOU ARE) is presumed dead but we never see his body. However, there is NO MENTION of SPECTRE, Blofeld or Bond's wife in any of the movies after that...until here.
This movie opens up with Bond at his late wife's grave, when he gets in a helicopter and it gets taken over by a bald man in a wheelchair with a cat (who's face we never see). This is clearly supposed to be Blofeld, but since the studio had somehow lost the rights to Spectre and Blofeld, they couldn't show his face or call him by his name. They wind up dropping him down an exhaust chimney at a factory and that's it. He isn't seen again until the Craig-Era films.
It's such a stupid and crappy way to kill off one of the greatest villains in cinema history. And what's worse, Bond was supposed to originally be Timothy Dalton in this film, but he turned it down because he didn't like where the series was going at the time in terms of tone. I can't blame him. It's just really cheesy and I would even say disrespectful to the franchise's legacy as a whole.
Plus, I got suspended in high school for saying the name of this movie in class.
A View to a Kill (1985)
I know a lot of people say this is the worst of Moore's films, but I actually found myself quite enjoying it.
My biggest problem here is the movie is clearly trying to be a smaller scale, more serious film but the villain's plot is to destroy silicone valley with earthquakes. It's so over the top that it contradicts the tone of the film.
Christopher Walken is an excellent villain and he never fails to be entertaining. Grace Jones was really good as May Day, although I did read that Roger Moore hated her in real life, although she's never had nothing but nice things to say about him.
Speaking of Moore, there's something really uncomfortable about a man his age (57 in real life at the time of filming) hooking up with girls in their early 20s. I know it happens in the real world but to see it be portrayed in this one as cool is just really weird lol. Moore does fine in the movie, but you can tell he's tired. His line delivery is even a bit different.
Again, I read that this was offered to Dalton who said he thought it was too soon after Octopussy to be putting out a new movie, so they went to Moore one final time.
The movie is fun though and has some really great action scenes, including one in an elevator that I found really cool and the finale on the golden gate bridge is done exceptionally well for the time.
6/10. It's a fun, serviceable action film and a halfway decent sendoff for Moore.
Overall, the Moore films are a bit of a mess. They are inconsistent with just about everything except for tone. They nail the campy, over the top tone really well. Moore is a good Bond for the type of films he did but I would have loved to have seen him do a serious Bond movie, or even a bit more of a serious Bond in general.
Looking forward to watching Dalton's Bonds. I have only ever seen License to Kill so his first one, The Living Daylights, will be a first watch for me!
I'll rank the Bonds from worst to best as I progress the series:
1. Sean Connery
3. Lazenby (I can't really give him anything higher because he only did one film)